As the summer season rapidly approaches, Steward Health Care is sharing a few reminders on summer safety precautions so you and your family can make the most of this exciting time of year. We’re all ready to get outside and enjoy outdoor activities, but its critically important to recognize that high temperatures and potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can be harmful and in some cases life threatening.
Heat exhaustion and heatstrokes are both serious conditions to be aware of during the summer months, especially if you’re spending sunny days at the beach, jogging outside or doing yard work. Warning signs of heat exhaustion include general muscle weakness, sudden sweating, nausea, vomiting, and abrupt lightness in the head or fainting. Heatstroke is a condition caused when your body overheats, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to, or physical exertion in high temperatures. Fortunately, heat exhaustion and heatstrokes are easy to prevent if you take precautions:
- Limit your activity in the sun – Take a break from the sun every hour or so and go to a shaded and cool area to ensure your body temperature does not get too high.
- Apply sunscreen – Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so reapply sunscreen every couple hours to ensure your skin is protected.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water and other fluids that contain electrolytes, which will allow your body to sweat and cool down.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine that can act as a dehydration component.
- Wear loose-fitting and lightweight clothing and limit restrictive garments – This will allow ample amounts of air to cool your body.
The increase in UV radiation during the summer months can be dangerous and damaging to the skin. Applying sunscreen multiple times a day is the best way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays that can cause sunburn, sun poisoning, and lead to skin cancer.
Prolonged exposure to the sun without sunscreen protection exponentially increases the probability of developing skin cancer. To prevent sun poisoning and the risk of skin cancer, it is important to use broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen daily. SPF 15 or higher is ideal for everyday use, but SPF 30 or higher is recommended for extended activity in the sun. As mentioned above, it is always a good idea to seek shade and give your skin a break from prolonged exposure to the sun.
Lastly, it is critical to remember water safety protocols as your family heads to the pool or beach.
- Ensure that you and your family are swimming in a designated area with assigned lifeguards.
- Never leave a child unattended while swimming and always try to swim with a buddy.
- Put lifejackets or other floatation devices on young kids.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, many forget this step as they are swimming in water.
With all of this in mind, have fun this summer and use these tips to safely enjoy time in the sun, on the beach or at the pool with your loved ones.
If you think you or someone may be experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke, seek immediate medical assistance. If you believe you or a loved one may be exhibiting signs of skin cancer, such as irregular moles that change shape or color, or lesions that may appear red, pink, white, blue or blue-black please seek out medical advice. To find a specialist in our network, please visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 800-488-5959.